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What Does a Mobile Website Mean for Small Business and SEO?

Statistics on the global growth in mobile data usage are everywhere, but they usually provide very little insight into the impact mobile has on small businesses. For example, Cisco's VNI Forecast found that global mobile data traffic grew 69% in 2014, but what does that mean to a local hvac company, restaurant, or school? To answer this question we reviewed the top 25 websites (by traffic) from our own small business clientele to see what percentage of their traffic was on mobile devices.

RFF Client Mobile Visitor Statistics

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Turns out mobile plays a significant role for the majority of our client's website traffic. The average for all 25 websites was 33% of visitors using some kind of mobile device to access the website. (We ran a similar analysis 2 years ago and found the number to be <30%, but it was with a slightly different sample of websites). It was interesting, however, to see the averages vary by industry. However, regardless of the industry, we can estimate that mobile users make up at least a third of a small business' web traffic.

Forsake Not the Mobile User

A small business owner should care very much about their mobile website visitors. Mobile users are typically very intentional users - meaning they are more likely to be in the buying/hiring mindset than desktop users. Expectations are also higher than ever when it comes to user experience on the web. Mobile users are no different, in fact, they may be even more demanding. 79% of people say that they will search for another website after visiting a website that is not mobile compatible. For the small business owner, this should be unacceptable.

Consider the Math

If your website has 1500 visitors in a month, let us presume 33% of them are on mobile. If 79% of those visitors move on to a competitor's website, then you are losing 390 highly intentional visitors per month. If you know your website's conversion rate, then you can calculate your loss of revenue by not having a mobile optimized website.

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Responsive Web Design & SEO

To accommodate mobile users in years past we would have built a separate mobile website. These mobile sites were often crude, trimmed down versions of the full desktop site that left users wanting. They were also unable to properly accommodate tablet users, or the variety of screen sizes among mobile and desktop devices. That is where responsive web design comes into play. A responsive design allows websites to adjust to the user's screen. Whether they are on desktop, tablet, or a smartphone, all users receive the full experience optimized for their current platform.

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Here are a few recent examples of responsive websites that Right Foot Forward has built:

Google Wants You Mobile!

Last year, Google announced that an algorithm shift will include mobile-friendly design as a ranking signal. This means that sites that are responsive will have an edge over sites that are not responsive.

"Starting April 21, (2015) we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. "
Read the full post from Google

In Conclusion...

Responsive website design is not just about SEO anymore. It is demanded and expected by your visitors. Not providing a good user experience on your website will drive your visitors to your competitor's website, and will cost you real money. This is what "mobile" means to small businesses.


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Topics: SEO, Responsive Design, Mobile, User Experience